Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953

By Jeanne van der Eng-Liedmeier | Go to book overview

IV
LITERARY TYPES IN THE FOURTH PERIOD(1946-1953)

In post-war literature we are again confronted with the type of the Soviet citizen1 This time he is occupied with the task of reconstructing the country. His personal life is represented, too, but it does not cause him any serious trouble in the fulfilment of his public duty: the opposition between the two spheres is softened as much as possible2

When we draw a parallel with this figure as he was represented in the period preceding the war we see that his problems and difficulties are still more mitigated. Moreover, in his attempt to achieve a harmony between his personal life and his social task the post-war Soviet citizen appears to be much more guided by the Party. Whereas the pre-war Soviet citizen was a character who tried individually to realize in his life the ideal of the New Man, in the post-war period

____________________
1
During the war Party controls of all the media of art and intellectual life slackened considerably, but after the war the Party firmly took up the reins again: in August 1946 two Leningrad periodicals were condemned for printing 'ideologically harmful' publications, among others by the humorist Zoščenko ( "O, žurnalach 'Zvezda' i 'Leningrad'. Iz postanovlenija CK VKP (b) ot 14 avgusta 1946 g.", quoted in Russkaja sovetskaja literatura, izd. 15e, M., 1954, pp. 13-4). The Party directives for literature as a whole were explained by ždanov, as in 1934 acting for the government; a comparison with the 1934 directives will show that the main points, the necessity of creating a tendentious and educational literature, have not changed ( "Doklad A. A. Ždanova o žurnalach 'Zvezda' i 'Leningrad'", quoted in Russkaja sovetskaja literatura, pp. 23-44). Moreover, the bourgeois literature of the West is strongly attacked; the authors should attempt to illustrate in their works the superiority of Soviet society, which already after the war was in a stage of transition from socialism to communism, they should show 'novye vysokie kačestva sovetskich ljudej' and create an ideal type 'otbiraja lučšie čuvstva i kačestva sovetskogo čeloveka' (ibidem, p. 42-3).
2
The theory of the New Man already propagated before the war now developed in an unparalleled way: philosophy, ethics, psychology, the history of literature, each made their contribution. Not only was the harmony between personal and social interests in the New Man pointed out, but also his excellent moral qualities, his exceptional gifts, his richly developed inner life (cf. e.g. B. M. Teplov, Psichologija, M., 1952, p. 240ff.). It was stated that Lomonosov had already predicted the New Man, that he appeared here and there in classical authors, but that he could only develop on a large scale in the Soviet State ( K. Zelinskij, 'A. Fadeev', Novyj mir, 1947, 2, pp. 178-9).

-129-

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Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Foreword 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • I - Literary Types in the First Period (1917-1929) 11
  • II - Literary Types in the Second Period (1929-1934) 75
  • III - Literary Types in the Third Period (1934-1941) 107
  • IV - Literary Types in the Fourth Period (1946-1953) 129
  • Conclusion 157
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index of Authors 171
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